1) With the July 1st date upon us, players who are UFA are now free to sign where ever they please without compensation for their former teams. Its also freedom (in name only) for RFA, for whom considerable compensation would be due to former teams, making 'offer sheets' VERY few and far between. To say nothing of the personal nature of the hockey business among GM's its seldomly used and NEVER forgiven/forgotten!
2) AS many have already discussed, there are far fewer quality players than there are potential suitors, meaning there will be a bidding war of sorts to acquire these few players. Nothing against them, for we think every player should get as much $$ as they can, but its very likely some decent, but unspectacular players will become very overly compensated by days end. Do teams not learn? Do the names Vinny Lecavlier, and David Clarkson ring a bell? It was only a year ago that the Flyers and Leafs made deals with these 2 and we bet both teams wish they still had their compliance buy outs to rid themselves of them.
3) So who will get 'silly money' as we at Fauxrumors like to call it? Firstly we should also say that along with money there is also the issue with 'term' or the length of the contracts. With the new CBA, a new team can not sign a player for a term greater than 7 seasons, or 8 to retain one's one FA. For a UFA who may be pushing or over 30 even a 7 year deal can come back to haunt a team even if the cap continues to escalate over the length of the deal. So with those parameters in mind, here are some of the top 15 available players and anticipated money and term we expect to see given, as well as the possible destinations based upon some of the chatter we've been hearing.
- Ryan Miller- You may recall how we felt his playoff performance hurt his chances of getting a good deal. However, while he may get less term than previously, we full expect Ryan to get the 6 million his agent will ask for. So a 3 year, 18 million dollar deal is likely. If there are more than 3 serious bidders we cold see a 4th season added to that or a 4 year 25 mil deal. Possible destinations: Vancouver, Pittsburgh
- Dan Boyle- The aging offensive defensemen still has something to offer a contending team. At over 35 teams better be careful as to term as he can not be bought out. Two years is the likely term at 5 million per. Possible destinations: NY Rangers, Detroit, Toronto and Pittsburgh.
- Paul Stastny- Probably the best UFA center available and he won't come cheap either. The 28 year old who might fit well as a contenders 2nd line centre will be paid like a top center. With double digit teams inquiring, max term at 7+ mil is possible or a 7 year 50 million deal. Possible destinations: Rangers, Islanders, Minnesota, Arizona, and NJ
- Matt Niskanen- The 27 yr old Minny native will probably end up the highest paid UFA defensemen. Like Ststny, will have many suitors, driving up the price. Also like Stastny, he will end up getting WAY more money than his on ice potential deserves. Max term is a guarantee, and a tripling of his 13-14 salary of 2.3 mil is likely. Possible destinations: Washington, Minnesota, Detroit
- Thomas Vanek- May have hurt somewhat his chances of getting a max deal with his playoff disappearance, but he will still get a nice contract at or about his current 7 mil salary. Its the term that may push where the Austrian signs. WE are hearing 5 years 35 or so mil. Possible destinations: Minnesota, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton
- Jarome Iginla- The long time power forward had a very solid season in Boston who would lov eto retain him, but the reduced increase in the salary cap might make that difficult. Jerome is seeking a 2 year 10 mil. or 1 year 6 mil deal. Possible destinations: Boston, Pittsburgh, Montreal
- Brad Richards- Bought out of his 2nd long/bloated contract, he still could be a good 2nd line center fit at the right price. He'd be willing to take a 2-3 year 3-4 mil deal with a contending team. Possible destinations: Islanders, Phoenix, Tampa Bay
- Brooks Orpik- The 33 year old former Pens defensemen might be well sought after like his former teammate Niskanen. However don't expect him to get near the lucrative deal Matt gets. Likely a 3 year 12 mil range deal. Possible destinations: Washington, Islanders, Calgary, New Jersey
- Mikhail Grabovski- Still getting paid by Toronto as one of their compliance buy-outs. had solid year as Caps 2nd line center, but will be looking for raise from the 3 mil he made then. Will probably get close to the 5 year 5 mil deal he is seeking. Possible destinations: Washington, Arizona, Vancouver
- Matt Moulson- The former Isle, Sabre, Wild forward always seems to put up decent offensive numbers, yet seems to not get recognition you'd expect. We'll see if that translates into a poor UFA deal. Certainly he will get calls, and probably a decent raise above the 3 mil he currently receives. A 3 year 12+ mil deal is likely. Possible destinations: His 3 former teams, Penguins, Florida
- Milan Mickalek- The 28 year old former Senator will be a well sought after forward in this underwhelming UFA class. He can't expect any big time offers, but a continuation of his 4 mil salary is likely. Don't expect teams to offer more than 3-4 years. Possible destinations: Toronto, Arizona, Florida, Buffalo
- Dominic Moore- The Masterdon Trophy winner can expect a nice/deserved raise from the 1 mil he received from he rangers this past season. He will have several teams interested so a 3 year 9-10 mil deal is possible. Possible destinations: Tampa Bay, Montreal, New Jersey
- Dany Heatley- The old looking 33 year old has seen his last big pay day contract, but despite dwindling production will get an offer from several teams. Likely a 2 year 6-7 mil deal. Possible destinations: Florida, Dallas, Detroit, Toronto
- Mike Cammalleri- Was a bit over paid but as a #2 pivot at 4-5 mil might help a contending team's need for secondary scoring. A 3 year 15 mil deal possible. Likely Destinations: New Jersey, Calgary, Montreal
- Christian Ehrhoff- After being bought out of his long term deal by the Sabres the 31 year old German defensemen may be one of the top 5 UFA back liners available. We're told he'd take a bit of a discount to sign with a contendor. A 3-4 year deal at 15 mil. Possible destinations: Detroit, Vancouver, New Jersey